Book Prizes

Book Prizes are awarded after commencement for first-year or sophomore students who have submitted exceptional essays during the academic year.  Past recipients are:


NATHAN BROWN BOOK PRIZE – In honor of Nathan Brown, a member of the class of 1827 who was a distinguished linguist and missionary to several Asian countries, the department of history awards a book to the first-year student or sophomore who writes the best essay in a course in African, Asian, Latin American, or Middle Eastern history.

2014-2015
Soha Sanchorawala, ’18 – Racialized Bipartisanism As an Agent of Colonial Capitalism: Guyana from the 1950s – 1970s – (Singham – HIST 248 – The Caribbean: From Slavery to Independence)

2013-2014
Laura Elmendorf, ’17 – The Truth Behind the Mongol Yoke (Reinhardt – HIST 115 – The World of the Mongol Empire)

2012-2013
Elliot M. Chester, ’15 – “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” An Analysis of U.S. Perceptions of Japanese Professional Baseball, 1989-1994 (Siniawer – HIST 321 – History of U.S. – Japan Relations)

2011-2012
Adrian A. Mitchell, ’15 – The IPC in Iraq: 1958-1972 (Bernhardsson – HIST 310 – Iraq and Iran in the Twentieth Century)

2010-2011
Joseph Leidy, ’13, – “Our Job Remains to Liberate Them”: Palestinian Women and National Community (Bernhardsson – HIST 305 – Nationalism and Nation Building in Middle East)

2009-2010
Jonathan Elias Wosen, ’13 – Where “Fish and Fetish” Meet “Darkest Africa”: A Critical Look at the Historiographies of Marie Kingsley and Henry Stanley (Mutongi – HIST 104 – Travel Narratives and African History)

2008-2009
David Anthony Samuelson, ’12 – Bidding Farewell to the West and All It Meant for Japan: Japan’s Departure from the League of Nations (Siniawer – HIST 119 – The Japanese Empire)

2007-2008
William Lee, ’11 – “Under Siege”:  British and Japanese Responses to Chinese Nationalism (Reinhardt – HIST 117T – China & the West, 1800-1900)


RICHARD AGER NEWHALL BOOK PRIZE – In honor of Richard Ager Newhall, distinguished historian and teacher of history at Williams College, 1924-1956, the department of history awards a book to the first-year student or sophomore who writes the best essay in an introductory course in European History.

2014-2015
Thomas H. Riley, ’18 – Revolution As an Actor in Bely’s Petersburg (Wagner – HIST 140T – Fin-de-Siècle Russia: Cultural Splendor, Imperial Decay)

2013-2014
Jacques P.G. Guyot, ’17 –Everybody Lies: Sonthonax, Brissot, Condorcet and Their Role in the French Abolitionist Movement (Singham – Hist 129 – Blacks, Jews, and Women in the Age of the French Revolution)

2012-2013
Emma Martucci, ’15 – The Grey Space Chronicled (Garbarini – HIST 490T – Memory, History, and the Extermination of the Jews of Europe:  Dangerous History)

2011-2012
Jacob Addelson, ’14 – Bernhardt, Hamlet, Paradox (Fishzon HIST 334 – Sex and Psyche: A Cultural History of Fin-de-Siècle’)

2010-2011
Kwan Y. (Jenny) Tang, ’13 – Reading Diderot through Postcolonial Historiography: The Colonial and Slavery Problem in Enlightenment France (Revill – HIST 331 – The Enlightenment)

2009-2010
Charlotte Kiechel, ’12, – The “Final Solution” to Lebensraum (Siniawer – HIST 390 – The 1930s in Comparative Perspective:  Germany, Italy, and Japan)

2008-2009
Hilary R. Ledwell, ’12 – The Ritual Moment of Germaine de Staël (Revill – HIST 332 – The Revolutionary Tradition in France, 1789-1871)

2007-2008
Samantha T. Demby, ’11 – Calm Surfaces, Mysterious Depths: John Singer Sargent’s Fumée d’ambre gris and the Paradoxical Nature of Victorian Psychology (Kohut – HIST 336 – Victorian Psychology:  From the Phrenologists to Freud)


THEODORE CLARKE SMITH BOOK PRIZE – In honor of Theodore Clarke Smith, distinguished historian and teacher of history at Williams College, 1903-1938 and 1943-44, the department of history awards a book to the first-year student or sophomore who writes the best essay in a course in American History.

2014-2015
Eleanor R. Wachtel, ’17 – Empires on the West – (Merrill – HIST 372 – The North American West: Histories and Meanings)

2013-2014
Wendy Wiberg, ’17 – In Their Own Words: The Battle of Bunker Hill, Rhetoric, and the American Revolution (Spero – HIST 157 – From Powhatan to Lincoln:  Discovering Leadership in a New World)

2012-2013
Cooper Zelnick, ’15 – True of Spirit, False of Word (Spero – HIST 157 – From Powhatan to Lincoln:  Discovering Leadership in a New World)

2011-2012
Joan Brunetta, ’15 – The Past is the Future: The Life and Leadership of Horace Mann (Spero – HIST 157 – From Powhatan to Lincoln:  Discovering Leadership in a New World)

2010-2011
No Winner

2009-2010
No Winner

2008-2009
William Lee, ’11 – An American Pan-Africanist in Paris (Singham- HIST 292 – Africans in Europe:  Slaves, Abolitionists, Artists, Intellectuals, and Migrants in the Modern Era)

2007-2008
Eva Breitenbach, ’10 – Pictures of Thoughts’: Memory and Iconography in the Work of Vik Muniz (Wong – HIST 301F – Approaching the Past:  Remembering American History)